Dr. Elvira Aletta is a clinical psychologist with a unique perspective on what it’s like to live with a chronic illness. In her early twenties, she was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disease that usually affects young boys. Then in her thirties, she came down with scleroderma…
When Carolyn Thomas notified me that an article I wrote on Five Tips For Living Well With Chronic Illness was going to be featured on her blog, Heart Sisters, I was thrilled! I love Heart Sisters and it is a real honor to be mentioned there. Check it out.
Heart Sisters is all about women and heart disease – the #1 killer in North America – from the unique perspective of a Mayo Clinic-trained heart attack survivor. Whether you are coping with heart disease, another chronic illness or are dealing with the chronic issues of living, you will find a caring and understanding voice at Heart Sisters.
Hello Dr. A – and thanks so much for the very nice plug for HEART SISTERS!
Back at ya – as you know, I like to frequently share your essays here with my readers. I know that your own personal history with chronic illness helps to inform your wisdom in ways that are impossible for health care practitioners who lack that life experience, which makes what you write SO HELPFUL for heart attack survivors.
Almost 65% of women who survive a heart attack experience depression or anxiety (both predictors of poor outcomes in heart patients!) yet fewer than 10% of us are appropriately diagnosed and treated. For example, my own cardiologist (wonderful as he is!) has never once asked me in two years about my family life, work pressures, social support network – nothing!)
Your work also serves to reduce the stigma of emotional and mental health issues for all diagnosed with chronic illness, through education and gentle support to seek help.
There are few things more gratifying than discovering that the message sent in a bottle, thrown into unknown waters, has reached receptive hands. Thank you so much.
I was fortunate that my first job out of graduate school was in the department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York. A pioneering physiatrist, Dr. Ragnarsson, had just been named chair. He took the psychologically of trauma and disease very seriously. We had a team of psychologists who studied the behavioral health issues in everything from trauma, spinal cord and brain injury, to progressive disease such as Parkinson’s and MS, to autoimmune and acute illness, heart attack and stroke. That unique experience plus my own history has exposed me to all kinds of doctors with all kinds of attitudes.
Personally, most of my doctors have an empathic approach but a few, like yours, are terrific medically but not so great at appreciating how coping with Life can’t be measured by a blood test. We put up with them because their expertise is the priority. Hopefully, through our work, and that of many others, we are nudging them, and their patients, to appreciate how important the whole quality of our lives is to our physical health.
Love this new feature! love this page.
Hi, Banny Coulter.. I really appreciate your blog.. I am looking forward to read more contents like this .. Keep on posting! 🙂
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